Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume I
339 — The Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs
The Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs
With reference to my earlier telegram (No. 337)
His Majesty's Government in New Zealand have examined the proposals contained in your telegram of 25 February (No. 335). page 243 This message had not been received when the reply to your telegram No. 336 was despatched.
His Majesty's Government in New Zealand fully appreciate the necessity for making the most effective use of the comparatively limited military resources available in the Middle East. They fully realise also the urgent need at this juncture of affording every possible assistance to Greece, and for their own part are most anxious and willing to make the New Zealand Division available in the manner proposed.
They cannot help feeling, nevertheless, that the task confronting an expedition of the size proposed is a most formidable and hazardous one, and they would like to have the assurance of His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom that this aspect has been given full consideration and that the force is in fact adequate to meet the probable scale of attack. His Majesty's Government in New Zealand would also be grateful to learn what arrangements are proposed after the operations have commenced for providing support for the Australian and New Zealand force.1
1 In a message dated 28 Feb the acting Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia (Mr. A. W. Fadden) informed the Australian Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), who was then in London, that the Commonwealth's War Cabinet had decided to concur in the proposed use of two Australian divisions in Greece. It made the condition, however, that its ‘consent to their participation must be regarded as conditional on plans having been completed beforehand to ensure that evacuation, if necessitated, will be successfully undertaken and that shipping and other essential services will be available for this purpose if required.’ This telegram was repeated to the New Zealand Government.